Many women today believe that breastfeeding is the best thing that they can do for their newborn infant. As long as the woman is not on any drugs, alcohol, medication, or things that might influence the purity of her milk, this is true. Numerous women will only breastfeed their child for the first six to twelve weeks. When this is their first child, it can be troubling for the woman to be sure that her milk supply is enough to nourish her baby. By the second child, most women feel that they are comfortable enough to trust their body to do what it is supposed to do to feed the little one.
There certainly are cases where a woman does not produce an adequate quantity of milk. This is rare if everything else about her body is working fine. Even in women who have a decent flow of milk need to practice certain techniques to ensure that her milk flow continues strong and unabated. By working on a few areas, nearly all women can not only maintain their milk flow but see it continue to increase as the baby's demands for milk grows.
The first step to keeping breast milk in good supply is to practice good nutrition. This is important for two reasons. Good nutrition will increase the nutritional value of the milk. The baby essentially eats what you eat. If you eat better, then the baby gets healthier milk. Even a woman who does not work hard on this will produce milk that will keep her baby healthy. However, she will do so at the expense of her body. To produce milk, her body will take from her own tissue to find the nutrients for the milk. Second, good nutrition will keep your body in top condition. A healthy body will produce more milk because it just works better all around.
While exercise will not directly influence a woman's milk the way that eating right will, it will increase her body's ability to produce milk. With a stronger metabolism, stronger heart, and better circulation, her body will work harder on milk production because its resources will not be as taxed from just keep the woman functioning. This probably is not the time to go into a 4-hour per day routine of exercise. This can become counterproductive. The breastfeeding mother will have to work hard to keep up enough calories to sustain two bodies. Over exertion from too much exercise can actually take away calories that are needed to produce milk. So, some exercise is good, but too much may not be. Exercise in moderation.
Until a woman gets comfortable having a baby nursing in public, she should find a quiet secluded place to be with her baby without worrying about other people. This will also aid the bonding between mother and child. When the woman is relaxed, it is easier for her to let her milk down. If she is upset or too nervous, her body will hold back milk from the baby. As the nursing progresses over weeks and months, most mothers become comfortable in most settings with just covering her chest and baby while nursing. At first, she should give herself time to get used to the new procedure.
Breastfeeding works best with demand feeding. That is, feed your baby when it indicates hunger. As the baby nurses more, breasts tend to produce more milk. Most experts recommend that a woman begin each nursing session with the breast that she ended the last one. This will drain the breast and stimulate higher milk production. It will also keep milk from causing an infection in the breast by not leaving unused milk in the breast for too long. A pin on the lapel or bracelet on an arm can be used to signal which breast is to be used for starting the next feeding period. Using a good balm on the breasts after feeding can help keep the breasts supple and in good external condition.
While the child is young, even pumping a few ounces of milk between feeding can increase milk flow. This also has the advantage of letting the new mother know that enough milk is available for the baby because she can see it as it flows into a bottle. These bottles can be used when baby needs to be sent to a sitter or Dad wants a shot at feeding his new baby. Do not overdo the feedings without using the breasts. A woman's body can interpret this as signs of weaning the baby and decrease milk flow. Mostly, breastfeeding is just an exercise in common sense.